It was a close match, but the tactics employed by Jose Mourinho were better than Jurgen Klopp’s.
With more possession already conceded even before the match kicked off, Mourinho knew Liverpool’s major strength was the press and he negated that completely with his back-to-front tactic.
Two goals ensued from that direct route, 10 minutes apart from Marcus Rashford who fed on the relative inexperience of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was preferred ahead of Joe Gomez.
With the benefit of hindsight, Jurgen Klopp could have done these five things to get a more positive result.
Even as he said at the post-match interview, they had some decisions that did not go for them.
Klopp always knew his team would have more of the possession but he still did not gamble on that assumption. The route one tactic employed by United would have been better dealt with by a three-man defensive shield, who would have had only Romelu Lukaku to handle.
Gomez ahead of Alexander-Arnold
Alexander-Arnold was culpable for both goals, unfortunate as that may sound, mistakes from an inexperienced head. The 19-year-old will learn with more games Gomez could have handled the Rashford threat more maturely. As for the first goal, Alexander-Arnold was caught on the wrong side as Rashford made hay.
Matip ahead of Lovren
Lovren almost always seems jittery when playing the big sides while Joel Matip, who may have been dropped because of fitness issues, seems unflappable on those occasions. For the two goals conceded by Liverpool, Lovren was simply not strong enough. And if it had been a three-man defence, it would have been the third centre half picking up the Belgian.
Executed too many touches in and around the box
There were so many blocks executed by Manchester United players especially Eric Bailly, who seemed determined to atone for his own goal. With the centre of the pitch crowded, the Liverpool players continued their offensive forays through the middle as they persevered in trying to waltz through. It did not happen and the goal they got was a deflection because Sadio Mane decided to take the ball on and cross.
Maybe, it was just meant to be
Liverpool should have tried to take shots from distance or play with more width or just the fact that Mourinho prepared his team very well for the Liverpool way. Liverpool had 13 corner kicks to United’s one; they had 68% of possession and had 14 shots, from which David De Gea had to make only two saves.
Mourinho showed why he is a great manager by almost completely nullifying the hot trio of Mane, Roberto Firmino and hot shot, Mohamed Salah. You will only write off Mourinho at your own peril. The Portuguese is still alive and kicking. Now to the Champions League.